Don’t just take our word for it…some former Towanda staff share how working at camp had a positive impact on their career and future.
“I learned invaluable lessons from my 5 summers as a counselor. I learned leadership skills, conflict resolution, responsibility, and how to delegate. I learned to work with people of all ages, coming from different backgrounds- from my campers and co-counselors, to senior staff members. Being a camp counselor is the most rewarding, well-rounded experience that you cannot find anywhere else. Camp DEFINITELY helped me get into Graduate School, and helped me get my first job. I wouldn’t change my decision to keep going back for anything.”
–Mollie Spiesman (Dorm 2008)
Social Work Intern State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright’s Office New York University Master of Social Work
“It’s a shame that internship pressure is on the rise. Despite the seeming importance placed on internships, I don’t know a single person who received a direct job offer for after graduation from anywhere that they interned over the summer during undergrad. I have no idea where this perception came from. I chose to work at camp every summer through college and even half of the summer after I graduated (4.5 years), and I received a job offer the week of graduation. This was even in the engineering field, an industry for which many seem to think that internships lead to a job. Working at camp every summer was the best decision that I made through college. I was able to develop strong friendships with fellow staff from all over the world. Some of my best “camp friends” are non-ex-campers that I met during my counselor years, or ex-campers of other ages that I never interacted with when I was younger. I was also able to develop an incredible relationship with my campers, many of whom I am still in touch with.
Most applicable today, I have been able to extensively discuss my camp experience in my business school and post- MBA job interviews, highlighting the following skills:
- As a counselor, I learned how to successfully work on a team with my fellow staff to execute a common goal,
sometimes under stressful situations.
- As an AGL, I managed staff who were often several years older than me, a skill that is very important to fast career
growth in any company or industry.
- As an olympics general, I learned how to handle unexpected additional responsibilities, further improved my
management skills by placing me in charge of an even larger number of counselors and campers with little notice.
- I gained experience working with international staff members across various native cultures and languages, which
has become increasingly important to employers in today’s globalizing landscape.
- I developed my confidence in public speaking and executive presence by leading evening activities, and being on
stage in front of the entire camp.
These skills are incredibly important in all career paths, and ones that you will never gain by making copies, organizing files, or fetching coffees at a traditional undergraduate-level internship.”
Adam Silverman (Club 2005)
GMBA at Cornell University
North America Zone Logistics Intern Anheuser Busch
“Camp Towanda has been an excellent resource for networking in my professional life. I have my current position at a healthcare technology company in New York City because of my extended Towanda network. In my previous position as a healthcare consultant I often found myself on the golf course with my client…who also happened to be my Camp Towanda big brother in 1997. Although my camp career ended 10 years ago, my Towanda network is an important part of my professional network to this day.”
Charlie Niesenbaum (Club 2001) HMS Account Manager
“I think it’s really easy to get lured away to an internship because you think that’s what you are supposed to do and that’s the best way to get a good job after graduation. But in today’s world, you have to distinguish yourself from a large pool of people that are thinking the same thing. Everyone gets an internship, everyone makes photocopies and makes boxes and does coffee runs. Not everyone is a camp counselor. You don’t get the same experience with hands-on leadership at an internship as you do working at camp and don’t have the opportunity to make so many unexpected connections. Camp is a really special place and while it certainly makes sense to pursue an internship if you have a particular interest, you shouldn’t rule out another summer at camp if you are on the fence. Camp is a place to prove your responsibility, develop your ability to function well under stress, and maintain a fun, easy going environment, which are all things employers value. And also, you’ll have a job for the rest of your life! This is your last chance to have this extremely unique and life changing experience for one last summer.”
Hailey Eichner (Dorm 2007) Associate Rockport Group
“Being a counselor at Camp Towanda was extremely rewarding. As a counselor I was able to learn about the importance of responsibility and leadership. The counselor experience taught me so many things and was a great transition from my childhood to adulthood. Camp provided me with the opportunity to develop crucial skills that have translated into my adult and professional life.”
Jake Morgenstern (Club 2006) Account Executive, Mission Atheletecare
“You can tell anyone who thinks they are better served doing an internship that they are incorrect. I worked at camp until I graduated from college and I couldn’t be more happy with that choice. Once you start working there are no summers off, and little time outdoors. Believe me when you are older you miss those days more than the ones from your first job. I am now 51 years old and, as you know, I see my Towanda friends on many occasions during the year. Those friends provide invaluable guidance and assistance during the year and have also sent me business. The contacts you make from Towanda are better than the ones you get as a young employee. They will ultimately have a wide array of jobs and those contacts will serve you better as you get older then any other contacts you make. Amongst my Towanda friends who were campers, counselors and my campers, are as wide a variety of jobs as you could ask for. I have close friends who are lawyers, doctors, judges, HVAC, lighting, home goods, teachers, and advertising to think of a few. These friends are unlike any others because you don’t just work with them, you live with them. Consequently, these are people you can always turn to for advice, guidance, and just support when you go through some bad times.”
Mitchel Ashley (Club 1980) The Ashley Law Firm, PLLC
“There were so many times in my career in health insurance, when I looked back and said to myself, I learned how to accomplish this at Towanda. In the health insurance industry I was in positions that afforded me the opportunity to teach the skills I acquired to peers and members of my staff, as well as my bosses. Although I was a business major in college, I learned and practiced my management skills at camp. I was lucky enough to be a counselor and group leader throughout my college years. At Towanda, I learned how to motivate and lead my campers and staff, how to take the initiative and risks to assume tasks never handled before in “a safe environment” and how to follow through on assignments to their successful outcome. Many times I was in a position at camp where I just had to jump in and do it. When I was looking to hire staff, I always looked for people who had worked at camp, because I knew they had experience that it would take others years to acquire. The lessons I learned as a counselor and group leader could not be replicated in a summer internship. It would have taken me a number of years and a variety of jobs to have learned them.”
Phyllis Miller (Dorm 1965) Healthcare Professional
“I think that the path I chose to take was a little different than most. I was a counselor the summer before starting my freshman year in college and again the following summer after my freshman. I then, like most people felt the need to apply for internships in the hopes that it would build my resume. After two dreadful summer internships, I was able to return to camp for a third summer as a counselor. I think this third summer as a counselor I noticed a lot more than my past counselor summers. I realized that there were many skills that I learned at camp that I would have never learned at a desk job. I recently had a boss tell me that she was impressed by my organization and motivation. I truly believe that these were two skills I was able to develop during my time as a Group Leader. My organization stems from my ability to ensure that every camper was where he or she needed to be when they needed to be. My motivation comes from the difficulty and challenges it took to engage 25 girls and every activity, even if they did not want to participate. One of the hardest aspects of a job is learning to work with all different types of people. They may have different ideals, cultures, and methods of working than you do. The best part about working at camp is that you are given vast amount of opportunities to work with people that are from different countries and backgrounds from yourself. You are expected to eat, sleep and work with these people nearly 24/7, whether you like them or not. Camp gave me the opportunity to understand people’s differences, and discover new methods of overcoming difficulties of working with all different types of people. At my current job, I work closely with three people from different countries with completely different approaches to work. I have been able to overcome these challenges using many of the same techniques I developed at camp. Finally, camp is just fun. Although you are working, it is a rewarding sense of work that you can see directly impacts the children you work with. Many jobs do not offer the opportunity to take the summer off and go back to camp. Although there might be pressure to get an internship or build your resume, I can guarantee that working at camp makes you stand out, makes you more personable, and helps you handle many of the difficult working challenges that will come in your future.”
Randi Morgenstern (Dorm 2008) Associate PricewaterhouseCoopers
“Working at camp provided practical on the job work experience like no other job I have had. It required me to think on my feet, prioritize and act on a variety of challenges in real time, and constantly be prepared for anything and everything. Working as a counselor also gave me the opportunity to learn from and work with others from different cultural backgrounds, which is experience that has been valuable in every job I have had and back in graduate school for business. Working as a counselor also helped me place the needs of others before my own (whether the needs of a camper or first year counselor who was new to camp). This was particularly valuable for a customer service job I had – working at camp was excellent preparation! Similarly, working at camp demonstrated the importance of patience and listening, skills that are extremely valuable to any employer.
I loved working at camp, and I would not trade the experience for anything. The experience not only gave me camp memories that will last a lifetime, but I also learned a lot about myself. Working at camp is the best of both worlds – it is a one of a kind personal growth experience, and the lessons learned working at camp provide valuable professional experience that can serve as preparation for a job or great examples of your skills to share during an interview.”
Andrew Bromberg (Club 2005) MBA Candidate at The Ross School of Business